International Free Press Vol. 1 No. 2

International Free Press Vol. 1 No. 2

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" A Modern Electronic Chronicle of the Global Black Experience. "


(use this list to help move to the article you wish by doing a text search for the title names)

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Letters to the Editor

Muslim militants join the Pope in condemning UN conference - World News

NAACP - continued article on the NAACP

Pulling together - Harambee Centres Canada.

NASA supports African-Americans in search of excellence - NASA educational program, profiled.

Vinx - profile of a musician

Hand that rocks the cradle - Chicago's children suffer under crime.

History File - historical facts about black peoples.

David Hosten - Publishing Editor         Susannah Skerl - Asst. to Editor
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Letters to the Editor

great first issue!! please send me a subscription to this address in addition to my other address thanks Sean.

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Really. I'm blown away. I thought it would be a few pages with a few articles. I haven't had time to read it all. But I'm particularly impressed with: the article about The Brothers' Project ( I wrote down the address to visit them; the in depth history of the NAACP, not just another light look; poetry!

From: mondcivitano trio

Ed. note:

We thank you for your messages of encouragement and hope to continue to provide a valuable new news and information forum to you.



What do the pope, Iran's Ayatollah's and a Middle East terror group have in common? They all, it appears, loath the idea of letting individuals - particularly women- have a free choice over their future.

One hopes it was a mere coincidence - rather than a design - that forces who lay down the rules of ethics and high morality, whether through traditional faith or through a barrel of a gun, joined hearts, voices and hands to attack the United Nation's population conference due to be held in Cairo next week, condemning it as `work of the devil'.

All the attacks came, almost simultaeneously, on the same day Sunday 28 August, but in different parts of the world.

Speaking to pilgrims at the papal summer resort in the hills south of Rome, 74-year-old Pope John Paul attacked the Cairo conference, which took place September 5-13. ``I fear a certain tendency of the conference's draft document to conceive sexuality in a manner that is too individualistic and does not give enough value to...marriage and the family,'' said the pontiff, who made the conference a focus of the Vatican's intellectual attack for the past month.

In the Philippines, Catholic priests, for the third Sunday running, blessed the mob that burnt the proposed conference document. How many of them actually read it ? - we could not find out.

Meanwhile, Roman Catholic bishops in one of the world's poorest countries, the Central African Republic joined the debate, arguing that their country needed more babies, not fewer.

In a written position paper, the Episcopal Commission of Central African Bishops condemned the conference saying their country of 623,000 sq. km (240,000 sq. miles) needed to boost its estimated three million population...

On Sunday 28 August, the bishops took the opportunity to join other clerics in opposing any use of abortion as a form of population control. "Proposals for stabilization of populations based on emigration and free abortion are bearers of vice and disease," the churchmen said.

Two thousand miles east, a similar argument could be heard - this time in Farsi - from Iran's Ayatollahs. The same `spiritual' leaders who backed groups taking western hostages and blowing up passenger planes in their struggle against the `decadent Judeo-Christian west' echoed the Popes message.

Only two weeks earlier an envoy from the Vatican visited Teheran to co-ordinate the religious crusade to censor the conference papers. This crusade was also joined by Al-Azhar - the official Muslim church - in Cairo - who temporarily forgot their bitter division with the Iranian Shia Islamic doctrine.

`` What made all these forces angry,'' said one Iranian feminist ,`` is the fact that conference documents address women as individuals who have the right to chose how to organize matters related to their sexuality and reproduction, not as dictated by family needs which in the view of church - being Islamic or catholic - means the man's needs.'' She wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

In what could be interpreted as a synchronized step, a leading Iranian clergyman gave the Pope's crusade an Islamic radical boost. The Iranian Majlis - parliament - head of the Islamic law committee, Abbas Ali Amid Zanjani, denounced the forum - also on Sunday 28 August -, charging that it promoted abortion.

In an interview with Teheran Times Mr. Zanjani blasted the United States and other Western countries for promoting the conference and urged Moslem countries not to "submit to pressure and preserve their Islamic identity."

Abortion has been strictly banned in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution which toppled the pro-Western Shah.

Across the Persian Gulf in the tiny oil rich emirate of Kuwait, which the United States and the rest of the free world fought a costly war to liberate from occupation of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the rulers did not seem to care much for freedom of choice as they attacked the UN conference.

Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Abdel Aziz Dekhil, said "Kuwait will express reservations over any step contradicting Sharia (the Islamic code) and the Kuwaiti constitution." - The so called Kuwaiti constitution is designed to protect the interest of the ruling Sabah family; making it impossible for the people to elect a representative government, depriving women of the right to vote and bars two thirds of the population born on Kuwaiti soil from citizenship. On Monday, 30 August, Saudi Arabia, which is the custodian of the holiest of Muslim shrines, declared officially that it was to boycott the conference. For weeks there has been anti UN conference pressure from the religious establishment lead by the blind Mufti (supreme religious judge) Sheikh Abd el-Rahman bin-Baz; who in 1979 issued a fatwa - edict - that the earth was flat and it would be blasphemous to contend otherwise. This pressure combined with Iran's strong anti conference stand, forced the Saudis - who are competing with the Iranians over the hearts of Muslims, to take a position making them the first nation to officially declare a boycott of the conference. Less than 24 hours later, Sudan, which is ruled by a military junta controlled by the Islamic Front - and a host to a number of terror groups - declared its boycott. Meanwhile, in Cairo, clergymen and scholars of the official Muslim Church -Al-Azhar have been campaigning to censor the conference document and to have veto over the final draft to make it conform to Islamic code as interpreted by the clergy. - (see last issue of IFP.) While government ministers defended the document which calls for the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and reducing abortion rates. The draft document recommends that women should be given reliable information on abortions and that the operation should be safe.

It also says information on safe sex should be available to prevent the spread of sexual diseases and curb unwanted pregnancies.

Muslim scholars had zeroed in on the document's terminology rather than the content.. The clergy, almost none of them read the document, want to force the conference to cut out any references to gay, sexual relationships outside marriage, teenage pregnancy or single mothers - all categories exist in Egyptian society.

In thousands of mosques, the clergy preach their unchallenged interpretation of Koran - Muslims holy book - condemning the population conference and inflame the feelings of illiterate peasants with distorted facts. They claim the UN want their children to be taught sex and gay culture at schools. The word KHAWAL - Egyptian slang for gay- is a form of insult, while there is no Arabic for homosexual or gay, but the conservative press use words like ` sexually abnormal' or ` sexual freak'.

Such words have been associated with conference in headlines in fundamentalist Islamic press financed by wealthy Islamists from the Gulf region. While officials gave a number of press interviews saying that school textbooks carried explanations about human reproduction in far more explicit terms and pictures, which parents accepted for years, the government failed to let the message reach the thousands who can not read or write. They are left to listen to the Friday lesson in the mosques; again because of the government failure to use television as a medium to debate the issues openly between secular liberal thinkers and fundamentalists.

Islamists, angered by the use of the term `individual' instead of a `wife', induced ultra-right wing Islamic lawyers to seek a legal injunction in order to ban the conference unless the agenda changes, and force Islamic censorship on media reporting the conference.

As the court case became headline news in the Egyptian press it was maximum publicity for the Islamists repeating that draft proposal advocates abortion and free sex, in violation of Sharia Islamic code. It took the court about one minute to throw out the case since it has no basis in the law; but the fundamentalist lawyers said they will appeal to the high court and held a press conference accusing the United States of blackmailing the Egyptians with threats to cut economic aid in order to host the conference. As expected they had no evidence to present when challenged by reporters. The Islamists had no chance of winning and still went ahead to file a lawsuit. Sheik Youssef al-Badri, an adviser to the fundamentalist lawyers, believes they must keep filing religious cases even if they lose in secular courts.

``We don't care whether we lose or win,'' he said. ``It is the obligation of each Muslim to battle for what's right and against what's wrong.'' Propaganda was their aim. They want to set a precedent that an Islamic ruling could be used as a base to file a case in law courts ruled by secular law. Security agencies went on full alert, also on Sunday, 28 August. The Gama'a al-Islamiya _ an outlawed terror group responsible for the death of scores of civilians as well as attacks on tourist and the killing of a Spanish child on Friday 26 August, added its violent twist to the Islamists' campaign against the conference. In a fax sent to news agencies, the group said `` foreigners who take part will be risking their lives.''

Islamists say the conference is a bid either to cut the population growth in Islamic states part of a western imperialist plot, or to promote ``immoral and corrupt'' liberal views on sex and family.

As western diplomats and security experts say there is little chance for the group mounting any serious attack on the Conference in Cairo, since the police had the upper hand over the past six months, the group hopes to keep up a tense situation by forcing the security agencies to be more conspicuous with their presence. The Egyptian government had hoped the conference would rehabilitate Egypt as a safe destination for tourists, many of whom have been deterred by the political violence of the past two years. So the battle to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, has shifted to the courts. Liberal lawyers see it as an attempt by fundamentalists to keep up the psychological campaign of terror. Fundamentalists fully exploit the law courts - which they condemned alongside all democratic institutions as a decadent western notion; to frustrate the government, confuse the masses (who suffer 40 percent illiteracy), and point an accusing finger at liberal intellectuals and feminists who campaign to preserve the modest freedoms won by Egyptian women early this century and keeping religion as an individual's choice not as an imposed social code. In their coverage of court cases the press quoted people from either side of the argument. Several of liberal campaigners who expressed views to the press, which were denounced by Islamists, were later assassinated, subjected to campaign of hatred or forced to flee the country.

The secular Egyptian government contributes to the confusion by appeasing fundamentalists who denounce violence, by giving free air-time on state controlled radio and TV to clergymen who preach medieval views - while denying an equal air time to liberals, egalitarians and women groups. As a result, the government lost the initiative and found itself increasingly on the defensive.

The government attempts to curb Islamic influence in schools was delivered a sever blow last week (27 August) when a court suspended a ministry of education decree that girls must have their parents' permission to wear the veil in class.

Education Minister Hussein Kamel Bahaa al-Din issued the ruling which was to come into effect in the new school year - starting early September - that all girls must stick to a uniform without a Hejab - head scarf.

His decision was the implementation of a recommendation by a commission of inquiry into complaint by parents that their teenage daughters were intimidated by some ultra-orthodox Muslim teachers to take up the head scarf- and were taught extreme views.

The commission recommended removing over 1000 teachers from teaching duties and suspending over 200 for `` forcing their [ extremist Islamic ] political views on pupils and interfering with the curriculum.'' The fundamentalists succeeded early August in getting Al-Azhar to issue a FATWA ( an edict) condemning the minister's decision as an attempt `` to discourage young women from following Islamic code.'' Again the Government controlled media - presided over by minister of information Safwat el-Sharif a former army officer and former member of Colonel Nasser's infamous intelligence service that terrorized the population in the 1960's - did not give adequate air-time to liberal women and parents to present their case, all complained that their children were intimidated by some teachers. Girls who refused were made fun of and were made to feel different from the rest of the pack and eventually bullied in school playground.

`` It is a mad world, when women of my generation used to go to the beach in our bikinis or sunbathe topless without any fear, find their teenage daughters forced the take up the veil by violence and intimidation.. this is terrorism,'' said writer Nagaw Helmy. Ms Helmy pointed out that the veil was sneaked into university through the back door of economic hardship: `` Because of inadequate grants [scholarships] and housing benefits for students from poor families, Muslim fundamentalists, backed by huge funds from Saudi Arabia, provided the girls with accommodation, books and the veil. The more girls a student could recruit to the cause of the veil, the more benefits she gets.'' Then veil became as fashionable in University and among girls, as were those rich young men in flashy cars, Muslims, seeking veiled women to marry. `` There is a multi-million pounds (dollar) fashion industry, controlled by Islamic investors from Saudi Arabia, that trades exclusively in the strict Islamic dress,'' observed Ms Helmy. Those traders are the ones who pick the bill for the legal costs when Islamic lawyers file cases to force Islamic issues on society.

Ironically, when Islamists' lawyers representing some schoolgirls' parents challenged the ministry of education ruling in the Cairo administrative court, they employed liberal secular argument and hid behind a liberal clause that gives individuals the right to chose the way they dress and bans central government from intervention in local schools' affairs. The court ordered the suspension of the decree, saying it would rule later on whether it was constitutional for the minister to impose a national uniform. But the Muslim lawyers presented it as a victory over the secular state arguing - wrongly - that the decree violated the dictates of Islam, and was therefore unconstitutional. Again their Islamic media outlets confused the public by suggesting that the court suspended the decree because it found it unconstitutional, because it violated Islamic code.

Meanwhile the government failed - by sheer folly or deliberately - to use its powerful media to put matters right in explaining the court's position.

But fundamentalists, in their campaign to hegemonies the world to fit their version of Islam do not stop at forcing the veil on school-girls or banning the UN population conference.

Another target is one of Cairo's more colourful features which the populace has become used to for over 100 years: the enormous movie posters that loom above the streets featuring scantily clad heroines and sneering villains.

Fundamentalists are again suing to have the ads declared a violation of Islamic law. They're also going after alcohol, gambling, belly dancing and even the interest rates charged by banks.

Attorney Taha Abd el-Galeel, one of 25 lawyers behind the poster suit, is careful to separate himself from armed militants. "Since we are not extremists ... we resorted to law instead of violence to change the wrong" .

But intellectuals and some government officials say the lawsuits are just another way of forcing Islamic law on all Egyptians, including Christians Copts, who at 15 percent of the population number over eight million and predate Islam which was forced upon the Egyptian by the sword in the seventh century AD. As for majority of Muslims who resist the strictest view of the Koran, Islam's holy book they face greater danger as they are accused of apostasy, which militants punish by death - like the case of the Khomeini death FATWA against British author Salman Rushdie.

Fundamentalist attorneys, who control Egypt's lawyers union, hinge their arguments on a section of the Egyptian constitution that says Sharia is one of the sources of legislation.

A suit against Nasr Abu Zeid, a University of Cairo literature professor, was a case in point.

Last year Lawyers in the case argued Abu Zeid's scholarly writings show he has renounced his Islamic faith and therefore, under Sharia, can no longer remain married to his Muslim wife. The judge threw out the case saying that only the husband or the wife can file for divorce, and awarded costs against the Muslim lawyers. The fundamentalists knew in advance they were going to lose the case against the Abu-Zeids, but they still went ahead generating massive publicity. While the Abu-Zeids won the case, they were subjected to daily abuse and harassment from fundamentalists students while Professor Abu-Zeid's promotion was blocked by University Council appeasing fundamentalists. Not many academic institution would like him on the staff as this would invite the wrath of fundamentalists. The writer Farag Foudah who humiliated Muslim scholars in a public debate in 1992 Cairo book fair, was shot dead by Gama'a Islamyiah six months later.

by Adel Darwish: (A D Hack)




As the century draws to a close, the NAACP has reemerged in the continuing movement for poltical and socioecnomic enfranchisement in the U.S. Although legal remedies of the last three decades have broken down race barriers in American institutions and have eliminated Jim Crow laws, the reversal of several areas in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, through a series of Supreme Court rulings in 1989, have left African Americans vulnerable to many of the same kinds of racist acts on the workplace, college campuses and neighborhoods. Under the directive of conservative Republican President Ronald Reagan, these rulings threatened to completely gut both Acts. Although both the 1991 Civil Rights Act and the 1993 Votings Rights Act were eventually passed, there has been a proliferation of litigation to continually weaken both these laws and other laws designed to protect African Americans and other minorities in the U.S.

Moreover, although African Americans experienced major socioeconomic and political gains during the 60s, 70s and 80s, many African Americans are still trapped in poverty cycles, particularly women, children and senior citizens. According to a report compiled by the NAACP in 1993, African Americans, regardless of economic status, still experience police harassment. National and international media displayed for world viewing both the beating of Rodney King, the trial and acquittals of all four policemen charged with assault, and the subsequent riots in Los Angeles. And American banks and insurance companies still practice redlining and mortgage discrimination, as well as limit access to small business loans and other bank services.

A Step Towards the Next Century

When Benjamin Hooks retired from the position of Excutive Director in spring of 1993, Benjamin Chavis was appointed as Executive Director, a move which would change the direction of the NAACP. Rev. Chavis, former head of the United Church of Christ Office of Racial Justice, brought new and controversial approaches to running the NAACP.

In early 1994, the NAACP adopted a policy of advocating expansion of minority ownership in the telecommunications industry, increasing access to educational technology, and enforcing equal employment opprotunities in telecommunications. "Minority and low-income students, in particular, are exposed to unequal educational opportunity and have less access to computer equipment," wrote Wade Henderson, Director of the Washington Bureau, in a letter to Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance.

Environmental issues also became a priority for the NAACP, under the leadership of Rev. Chavis, who coined the phrase "environmental racism" while Executive Director of the UCC Office for Racial Justice. The NAACP has begun to urge both the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. government to take action on the long neglected issue of environmental degradation in Black and Latino communities, both in inner cities and in rural areas.

Recent battles with conservatives in Congress over presidental nominees Dr. Joycelyn Elders (for Surgeon General) and Lani Guinier (for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice) demonstrated the political barriers still to be crossed by African Americans in the political arena. Both were heavily supported by the NAACP, and although Dr. Elders was confirmed after a grueling confirmation hearing, Ms. Guinier was withdrawn from consideration by President Clinton after conservative Senators pressured him to retreat on his support for her, and because of deliberate efforts to distort her writings on civil rights and voting rights strategies. Almost midway into the Presidential term, President Clinton nominated civil rights attorney Deval Patrick this spring.

Rev. Chavis experienced some controversy this year, which undoubtedly brought him considerable grief, and threatened to divide the NAACP. In the spring of 1994 he called together leaders from several black organizations, including the National Urban League, Cornel West, Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow Coalition, and Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. Attempts to bridge gaps between the NAACP and the Nation of Islam brought the NAACP considerable criticism from inside and outside the NAACP, from African American and Jewish communities. As there are several whites serving on the NAACP Board of Directors, including Jewish men and women, the NAACP was castigated by both blacks and whites for inviting Farrakhan, well known for his anti-Semetic remarks and writings. The summit went on as scheduled, however, with a promise to continue a process of dialogue on combatting inner city ills.

[postmark: In August 1994, Rev. Chavis was the centre of yet another controversy. He was accused by an Executive Assistant of sexual harassment, who has subsequently filed suit for damages. Rev. Chavis allegedly paid the former employee approximately $82,000 and promised to pay approximately $230,000. As neither transaction was cleared by the Board, Rev. Chavis' actions were considered unacceptable to his position, and he was terminated. Earl Shinhoster, director of the Region Five office in Atlanta, has been appointed interim Executive director.

by Cherie Turpin:



Florence Redman is a quiet, modest woman who enjoys her job. She is Executive Director of the Ottawa chapter of Harambee Centres Canada. She took time out from her busy schedule to speak with the IFP.

Harambee, from a Swahili word meaning 'let us all pull together,' was founded in 1985. Harambee Centres Canada is a nationwide organization which integrates Anglophone and Francophone Black and Caribbean people into Canadian society. Chapters exist in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, Winnepeg, Edmonton and Vancouver. A national board of directors is comprised of the heads of the various chapters as well as a select group of indivuals also associated with Harambee.

The reality of Harambee came as a result of questions raised by a 1984 conference entitled 'Crossing Bridges and Standing Together." The Ottawa Barbados Association, a local Caribbean culture and socialization group, was the seedbed for Mrs. Redman.

Harambee is made up of individuals; this is by design. A conscious decision was made to focus on individual efforts, as that allowed everyone to focus on what Harambee needed and what they could offer, rather than having an attitude that reflected an organizational culture perspective.

The National Capital Region chapter of Harambee focuses on education. This concentration has directly lead to the now popular Saturday morning education program, the 'Stay in school' initiative, and summer employment and training programs now available for youngsters. Black children who are not doing well in school are now often brought to Harambee for some positive image building, through task assignment, cooperative work projects, socialization with other black children. Here they are given genuine affection, that builds on the relationships that the kids share with there parents, but adds the necessary real world employment skills and outlook necessary for success. The Saturday morning program is mainly academic, which provides the necessary scholastic training in a comfortable, supportive environment. Many of the children who begin these programs have already been written off by teachers and the system for many reasons, including prejudice and cultural misunderstanding. Often it is the native born black Canadian kids who need the assistance. They seem to have less self esteem and no real focus, whereas recent immigrants are permeated with the education as greatest goal mentality.

The Ottawa chapter has over one hundred volunteers, serving over 1500 people within the local black community. Volunteers help with training, confidence building, and become friends with the children. Mrs. Redman fondly recounted the story of her early years.

As a girl, in St. Philip's parish, Barbados, she walked miles to and from school daily. She said, "they could just as easily feed me as punish me," referring to neighbours along the way. This sense of responsibility and family commitment extends to her present life. Her husband, on the police relations committee in 1992, and daughters, local volunteers, are also involved with Harambee. Speaking about her experience at Harambee, she called it, "a real family affair."

Harambee Centres Canada are now preparing to celebrate their 10th anniversary with special tributes and celebrations. Their programs have been accorded them praise and generated better undersatnding within the community. Harambee's work with the police, in race relations, and with the schools, fostering understanding and illustrating positive means with which to encourage students have lead to it becoming a fixture in the life of black Ottawa. Fundraising, probably better called 'funraising' involves politicians, VIPs and just about everyone who can participate.

Other Harambee centres focus on counselling (Toronto), the purchase of land and buildings for program use, e.g. the Winnipeg senior citizen initiatives, and various other schemes.

The story is rich with colour and full of fondness for the children in Ottawa. In future issues of the IFP, periodic looks at the Harambee Centres will occur....their dedication to education and community building has lessons for all of us.

by David Hosten:


NASA supports African-Americans in the quest for excellence

As a NASA engineer by profession, I feel the negative publicity of this agency over the past few years. The Challenger disaster and the Hubble Telescope raised doubt to the existence of not only the space program, but NASA as an agency. I still get infuriated when the media portrays NASA as a bunch of scientists and engineers who don't know what they are doing.

If one were to work with NASA on an intimate level, she would realize that it took years of preparation and planning to get to the level the agency is at today. If America is to remain the world leader in aeronautics and space exploration, secondary and college students need to be groomed today.

Over the past few years NASA has taken an aggressive approach to educating qualified students in engineering. NASA is one of the leading agencies (if not the leading agency) of government committed to encouraging students to excel in mathematics and science. There are programs especially targeted to African-American students desiring to pursue a career in engineering, or mathematics. The WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) and the McNair Scholars Award (Named after Ron McNair, the African-American astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster) are two such programs helping African-American students pursue an engineering career.

The WISE program was conceived in 1987 to groom African-American women for a career in engineering. In this five year program, participants spend part of their undergraduate work at an Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and complete their coursework at a majority college. For the first three years, students will go to Spelman College and major in physical science (for example, mathematics or physics). In the fourth and fifth year students have a choice of attending Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Rochester, Auburn or Boston University. During this time, students can complete their coursework in engineering. In the summer, students will work at any of the NASA centers, gaining practical engineering experience.

The WISE program is a full scholarship; NASA pays for tuition, books, fees, supplies plus travel expenses of one round trip from NASA to Spelman. Upon graduation, the student will earn a bachelor of science degree from Spelman and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from her chosen college (Imagine how these credentials will look on a resume!)

To qualify for this award, African-American females must be a graduating senior with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 out of 4.0 and have a minimum SAT score of 1000. Application deadline is January 1. For more information, contact (404)681-3643 ext. 300.

The McNair Scholars Award was established in 1989 and is similar to the WISE program except that African-American males will go to Morehouse for the first three years. Financial benefits and qualifications are the same as the WISE program. The goals of this program not only include encouraging African-Amercian males to pursue a career in engineering, but to encourage these young men to pursue graduate degrees. It is NASA's vision to increase the number of African-American males with doctorate degrees in engineering. For more information, contact Dr. Ben Martin at (404)525-6272.

This program is unique in a variety of ways. First, students gain exposure to the HBCU atmosphere and to a majority college. Difficulty may arise upon transferring from one college to another. Moving to another college is just like being a freshman again; students will make new friends and become familarized with the campus life. Second, students will have a better opportunity to work at NASA over other graduates. Students enrolled in this program are not required to work for NASA. If the student decides to work in the private sector, he/she will be more marketable (qualify to work at many companies) in comparison to his/her peers. Third, there will be no need to take out any loans nor deal with the torment of negotiating with the financial aid office. As long as the students maintain a B average, NASA will guarantee the full scholarship.

There are currently 71 African-American women enrolled in the WISE program and 84 African-American men enrolled in the McNair Scholars program. It is too soon to tell what impact this program will have on the participants. You can best believe that these young African-Americans will be impacted by the NASA experience, and translate this energy to making positive changes in America.

by M. Celeste Brown

M.Celeste Brown is a aerospace engineer at NASA Langley Research Center. She also owns a company called Celeste Consultants, a consulting firm dedicated to helping students prepare for college.


VINX - a story in progress.

My first taste of the wonder of an artist named Vinx came when I first experienced the magic one afternoon during the fall semester of my junior year at the University of Pennsylvania.

I went to the music store in the student union to browse through some of the new releases at the listening bar. After flipping through a few stacks, I found myself bopping to infectious African drumming. I was entranced by the rich mellow voice which accompanied those beats playing over the store's public announcement system. It was a voice reminiscent of both the soul of the Negro spiritual and the dexterity of a 40s jazz vocalist.

That was my first experience. Though it's been four years and three albums later, I'm still hooked.

Vinx's albums' reintroduce listeners to the beauty of true vocal and instrumental talent, something missing from so much of today's popular music. Harmonies and polyrhythmic percussion make listening to his music a multi-layered journey through sound and time.

Vinx has called on the services of such renowned instrumentalists as Patrice Rushen, Herbie hancock and Bill Summers. Background vocalist, Mark E. Smith is a recurring participant as Vinx weaves stories of love, pain , struggle and enlightenment through the belly of his drum.

He credited his severe childhood drooling problem with sparking his interest in drumming. In an interview on "Video LP" a program on Black Entertainment Television (BET), Vinx explained he drooled so much during his infancy his mother resorted to setting pots around him to catch the flow. He began to beat on those pots to amuse himself and showed early signs of being talented. He took percussion classes and began to develop his vocal talents.

Pop artist, Sting has been credited with "discovering" Vinx one evening as he was trying to avoid a downpour. Sting ducked into a club to wait out the rain and was allegedly captivated by the performer. Vinx created beautiful music with just his drum and his voice. Sting, with connections to I.R.S./Panega Records, helped secure Vinx a contract. He even invited the percussionist/vocalist to open for the "Dream of the Blue Turtles Tour". Since then, Vinx has made quite a name for himself through touring and performing in small clubs around the country.

With the recent video success of the single, "Please Come Back" from his latest album, 'The Storyteller', Vinx is sure to gain more of the widespread acclaim that has eluded him thus far.

Room in My Father's House 1990 
I Love My Job 1992 
by Stephanie McNeal:
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Loving, nurturing, weary, tired...the hands of our parents. These hands are responsible for putting nourishment into a child's mouth, providing clothing for their small bodies, and miraculously curing all childhood ailments. Are these "hands that rock the cradle" also placing guns into the tiny hands of today's youth?

On Sunday, August 28, 1994, in a troubled black Chicago community, a fourteen year old girl, Shavon Dean's young life was unexpectedly whisked away. Not by the weapon of a serial killer, a mad man on the loose, an escaped convict, or a psychotic on the streets due to overcrowded psychiatric facilities; instead, the triggerman was an eleven year old boy with an extensive criminal record. He is also an eleven year old suspect in the shooting earlier that day of a rival gang member.

Shavon Dean, was only a victim. As always, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is uncommon to show any form of sympathy for a murderer, but her killer is himself a victim. At the tender young age of eleven, this murder suspect already has a police record comprised of more than 14 felonies. His crimes include: armed robbery, strong armed robbery, breaking and entering, and a string of gang related crimes, a similar list of crimes to that of hardenedcriminals.

"Where are this boy's parents?", You ask.

His face and body bear signs of the care he received from his parent's hands. Scars cover his face. Cord like marks hide themselves from view on his abdomen. Scabs from burns on his neck and shoulder give you a good idea of the treatment demonstrated in his home. At the age of three, a victim of abandonment, abuse, and neglect, a ward of the court, his parent's had already unknowingly placed the murder weapon in his hands.

"What you've got here is a kid who was made and turned into a sociapath by the time he was three years old," a comment made to the Chicao Sun Times by Cook County Public Guardian Patrick Murphy.

Two-thirds of all abused children are likely to resort to some type of violence at one point in their lives. Last year in Chicago alone, over thirteen youths, surprisingly under the age of thirteen, were indicted for murder. At a time when the number of crimes is growing at an alarming rate, the age of criminals is decreasing. Are we to assume that all of these young offenders come from abusive homes? Are we to come to the harsh conclusion that parents are creating these young criminals? Should parents be put on trial for their children's crimes?

According to the Chicago Sun Times, the city's Mayor, Richard Daley said, "If this child was protected five years ago, you save two people. You save the young woman who was killed, and you save the young offender. But he wasn't. He fell through the cracks".

Whose responsibility was it to protect this young victim of circumstance? Are we to protect children from the hands in which God has placed them? It makes you begin to wonder if the loving hands meant for protection are also the hands responsible for those who pull the trigger.

Of course, no good parent can be blamed for the straying of a child. But it can be said that we are only images of our parents. Children are often seen as mirrors, reflections of their parents' behavior. Instead of fighting to enforce stronger laws to try more children as adults, we should perhaps put to trial the adults whose hands have helped create these young criminals.

by Tonya M. Doss:



September 1  Robert T Freeman becomes the first Black person to
                graduate from Harvard Dental School, 1867
September 2  James Forten, abolitionist, inventor, entrepreneur, is
                born in Philadelphia, PA, 1766
             Frank Robinson, prfessional baseball player, is named MVP
                of the American League, 1966
September 3  Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery disguised as a
                sailor, 1838
             Charles H Houston, NAACP leader, is born 1895
September 4  Lewis H Latimer, inventor and engineer, born 1848-1928
             Arkansas governor Oval Faubus calls out the National
                Guard to bar Black students from a Little Rock high
                school, 1957
September 5  John W Cromwell, Sec. American Negro Academy, born 1846
           George Washington Murray elected to Congress from South
                Carolina, 1895
             Leopold Sedar Senghor, poet, politician, is elected
                president of Senegal, 1960
September 6  Independence Day, The Kingdom of Swaziland
September 7  Integration began in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD
                public schools, 1954
             John Merrick, coorganizer of North Carolina Mutual Life
                Insurance Company and one of the most prominent
                businessmen of the South, is born, 1859
September 8  Roy Wilkins, second Executive Director of NAACP, dies
September 9  Richard Wright, noted author of _Native Son_ and _Black
                Boy_, born 1908-1960
             Association for the Study of Negro Life and History
                founded by Carter G Woodson, 1915
             John Gregg Fee, Kentucky abolitionist and founder of
                Berea College, is born, 1816
             Sarah Mapps Douglass, abolitionist, born 1806
             Arthur Ashe becomes first Black person to win US men's
                singles tennis championship, 1968
September 10 Congressman John R Lynch presided over the Republican
                National Convention, 1884
                John R Lynch is born, 1847
September 11 "Duke" Ellington won Springarn Medal for his musical
                achievements, 1959
September 12 Jackie Robinson, first Black major league baseball
                player, is named National League Rookie of the Year,
September 13 Lewis Latimer invented and patented an electric lamp with
                a carbon filament, 1881
             Alain L Loke, philosopher and first Black Rhodes scholar,
                born 1886-1954 
September 14 President FD Roosevelt signed Selective Service Act,
                allowing Blacks to enter all branches of the US
                Military Service, 1940
             Constance Baker Motley, former US Cabinet member, born
September 15 The first National Negro Convention began in
                Philadelphia, 1830
             Paul Robeson portrays Othello for the 296th time at New
                York City's Shubert Theater, 1943
September 16 Slavery abolished in all French territories, 1848              
		Claude A Barnett founded Associated Negro Press, born
                1889 [very unclear which one of these two events
                occurred the way this is worded in my source]
September 17 Hampton Institute founded, 1861
             Vanessa Williams, Miss New York, becomes first Black Miss
                America in the Atlantic City Pageant, 1983
             American Missonary Association school established in
                Fortress Monroe, VA, 1861
September 18 Congress passed Fugitive Slave Law as part of the
                Compromise of 1850
September 19 Atlanta University founded 1865
             Booker T Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in Alabama,
September 20 First Negro Convention of Free Men agreed to boycott
                slave-produced goods, 1830
             Lamine Gueye, Senegalaese political leader, born in
                Medine, Mail, 1891             
September 21 Atlanta Life Insurance Co founded, 1905
             F. W. Leslie patents the envelope seal, 1897
September 22 Xaiver University, first Black Catholic College in US,
                opened in New Orleans, LA, 1915
             Independence Day, Republic of Mali
September 23 Mary Church Terrell, civil rights activist, born
             John Coltrane, jazz saxophonist, is born 1926 - 1967
September 24 Nine students desegregate Central High School, Little
                Rock Ark, 1957
September 25 Secretary of Navy authorized enlistment of slaves as Union
                sailors, 1861
             Barbara W. Hancock is named a WHite House Fellow, the
                first Black woman to receive the honor, 1974
September 26 Maggie L Walker, business and civic leader, first Black
                president in US, born 1867-1934
             Bessie Smith, "Empress of the Blues,"  dies 1937
September 27 WC Handy published "Memphis Blues" the first Blues Song,
September 28 David Walker, abolitionist, writer of the famous
                "Appeal," is born, 1785
September 29 WGPR-TV Detroit, first Black-owned station in US, began
                broadcasting in 1975
             President JF Kennedy authorized use of federal troops in
                integration of University of Mississippi, 1962
             The _Booker T Washington_, first US merchant ship with a
                Black captain, Hugh Mulzac, is launched, 1942
September 30 Johnny Mathis, singer, born 1935
             Independece Day, Republic of Botswana

*list kindly compiled by Charles Isbell:



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__David Hosten__Publishing Editor__International Free Press_Electronic||
____Department Of Mass Communications___University Of Ottawa__CAN____
//////Unless otherwise stated, comments made here are my own\\\\\\\\

****	Cameron Grahamaz713@Freenet.Carleton.CA	****
My opinions are not necessarily reflective of any body to which I belong.****

From: az713@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Cameron Graham)
Subject: International Free Press Vol 1 No 2
Date: Sat, 1 Oct 1994 18:39:15 GMT
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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